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DPP must be democratic

News coming in from the Northern Region that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader, Peter Mutharika, has declared that the ruling party’s stalwarts will stand in the 2019 parliamentary polls without going through primary elections does not make for good reading.

Mutharika openly declared during his tour of Chitipa District that the likes of Goodall Gondwe, Symon Vuwa Kaunda, Nick Masebo and Grace Obama Chiumia will represent DPP without worrying about contestants from within their own camp.

On e wonders whether such pronouncements by Mutharika, who also happens to be the country’s Head of State, are a collective decision from the party’s rank and file.

In a typical democratic set-up, decisions that affect the party need to be collective. Pronouncements coming from just one individual, no matter how powerful they may be, defeat the very purpose of democracy.

Taking away the power of party members from contributing to decision making is a recipe for disaster and calling for trouble.

Such decisions have led to the rise in the number of independent candidates in Parliament, as parties disregarded the wishes of their people.

As a country, we agreed to follow the democratic path when we voted in multiparty politics in 1994. This means that the destiny of our political parties should never be allowed to rest in the hands of one person.

Whatever Mutharika may have seen in the DPP gurus to declare that they will stand without any primary elections in their constituencies is not shared by the rest of the DPP membership.

Mutharika must be told in no uncertain terms that democracy does not allow him to impose candidates on the people.

The days of dictatorship are long gone and power rests with the people. Mutharika has no right to stop other interested candidates within his own party from throwing their hats into the ring simply because he wants to protect his friends.

Recycling leaders has not helped Malawi in any way. The country needs leaders with fresh ideas for the sake of progress.

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